Downing College Chapel Choir is a mixed-voice choir made up of scholars from Downing and other colleges, as well as some local residents from around Cambridge. We are one of the most welcoming choirs in Cambridge and are delighted to hear from anyone who enjoys singing.
Our Chapel boasts one of the best acoustics in Cambridge. To find out what the Choir is singing this term, have a look at the latest Chapel term card.
Joining the Choir
We offer Choral Awards to undergraduates who apply to Cambridge University through the central Choral Award Scheme. We also make a number of Choral Awards ourselves to Downing students, and recruit other singers from Downing and elsewhere.
Most people join the Choir in October, but vacancies may arise during the year. If you are interested in joining the Choir, please email Louisa Denby to organise a short, informal audition.
The Choir rehearses weekly every Thursday for Choral Evensong on Sundays and late evening services of Compline on Thursdays twice each term.
In return for their commitment, members of the Choir dine for free in formal hall on Sundays, as well as receiving regular singing lessons.
In addition to performing at weekly college services, the Chapel Choir of Downing College sings in a wide variety of locations outside of Cambridge. Recent visits have included Toronto, Edinburgh, China, Amsterdam, The Hague and Brussels, Canterbury Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Scandinavia, Canada and the East Coast of the USA.
Downing's Organ Scholars play the organ and direct the Choir. In 2016-17, our Graduate Organ Scholars are Marnus Greyling, Louisa Denby (Assisting Organist) and Adam Begley. Christopher Robinson, former Director of Music at St John's College, assists us as Mentor to the Organ Scholars.
There is one vacancy for a Graduate Organ Scholar to join us in October 2017, and the Chaplain welcomes enquiries about this post. We will also be looking for an Undergraduate Organ Scholar to join us in October 2018, as described on the Cambridge University Organ Scholarships page.
Organ scholars receive an annual stipend of £450, along with £300 towards tuition, and a large room in College with a piano for all three years of the scholarship. Our superb new organ, built by Kenneth Tickell and Company, is currently being installed.
Downing has a reputation for producing successful organists and choral directors. Previous organ scholars include:
- our Honorary Fellow Martin Baker (Westminster Cathedral)
- Tom Leech (Leeds Cathedral)
- Benjamin Saunders (Leeds Cathedral)
- Andrew Millington (Exeter Cathedral)
- Carl Jackson (Hampton Court Palace)
- David Pipe (York Minster).
For further information about becoming an Organ Scholar in Cambridge, see the Organ Scholarships page. Potential applicants are also welcome to contact the Chaplain to ask any questions they may have, and are welcome to arrange to visit the College.